- Who Has The Muse
Tele-Market -- Sell a Market
If you were to believe the telephone companies,
telemarketing is nothing more than reaching out and touching
someone's wallet. Many software sales organizations have
fallen for this line only to be disappointed. Others, have
rejected out-of-hand the entire telemarketing concept as
impossible, due to the above failures, or at least not
probable with their products based on a bias which I call
press-the-flesh sales chauvenism. Both are missing the boat
and depriving themselves of the benefits of this marketing
concept. Your agency's mission: to enlighten them.
First, let's not get confused about what is meant by
"telemarketing". Calling for an appointment, or for an
accounts receivable collection is not telemarketing. That's
just using the telephone! Moreover, telemarketing shouldn't
be considered the telephone companies' exclusive domain. The
ol' Greek word "tele" means "at a distance" which implies no
singular reference to voice, electronic, or whatever.
To me, telemarketing is the commitment to close business
remotely ... or, as Aristotle would have had it "at-a-dis-
tance". This commitment is one which should be made
initially at the highest corporate level involving the
president, if it involves a test case; and the directors, if
it is the launch of a new way of doing business. Like all
others, the telemarketing commitment, once internalized,
subconsciously influences all subsequent decisions. And at
issue can be some hefty ones regarding owners', investors'
and CEOs' egos with respect to centralized vs decentralized
offices ... fear of feeling confined ... loss of public
presence ... etc.
So, where's the VP of Marketing in all of this? Well,
if there is a strong one, meaning that there is a classic
office which controls what has become segregated into various
marketing support and sales departments, make certain to
include them in your first meeting. If, however, marketing
and sales are separately headed, which is characteristic of
so many software companies ... stick with the president.
Because if you don't, a conflicting dynamic -- far beyond the
scope of this article -- can occur which could thwart an
agency's creative, telemarketing proposal, without the
With this commitment in place, success requires the
rethinking and re-evaluation of everything that your client
is doing -- from product offering through contract wording
to installation, education and maintenance. If they currently
have a field sales organization with supporting advertising
and collateral materials, this could be quite extensive.
With start up clients, its open running without the obstacles
of product and attitudinal adjustments. Either way, agencies
should play a critical role in the successful implementation
of the telemarketing process which for all of its benefits
must overcome the sensory depreciation inherent with at-a-
distance marketing. And the true test of such success is a
vigorous, thumbs-up response to the question, "If our
corporate lives depended upon it -- which they probably do --
can we sell more product remotely than in person?"
Considering the collective heartburn of both the agency
in proposing and the company in implementing, what are some
of the benefits that make it all worthwhile? The most
frequently called to mind are ...
*lower cost per call
*more calls per period
However, equally -- in fact, more -- important are these
other benefits ...
*speed of reaction
*centralization of support and decision making
*concentration of knowledge.
*private advertising and postitioning
*instantaneous reaction to competitors' thrusts
*camouflaged corporate structure
*consistent home court advantage
*immediate deployment or re-deployment of resources
*re-oriented presentation and pitch
*researched and analyzed central data
*increased spans of control.
Finally, what shouldn't you do ...
1. Don't sit idly by waiting for your client to start
talking about telemarketing. You may be surprised as to who
will acquire that business. Eventually, and to varying
degrees, the benefits of this process will win over the
staunchest of field sales chauvenists. And they'll act ...
2. Don't sit idly by if your client attempts to steal
the telemarketing initiative with existing materials which
your agency has put together for other purposes. A black-eye
could be in the making. Perform an audit with sensory
deprivation in mind, make suggestions and close new business
based on overcoming AT-A-DISTANCE obstacles.
3. Don't sit idly by -- P-E-R-I-O-D!! Cost per call is
soaring. Percentage of advertising dollars to revenue is
falling. Nine digit zips, overnight letters, electronic
mail, cable TV, microwave by-pass, teleconferencing ... and
yes even paging beepers with electronic message boards are
only the beginning of ways to reach out and touch someone's